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Issue 122 - I'll Take the Low Road

Whisky Magazine Issue 122
September 2014

 

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I'll Take the Low Road

Hans takes a trip through the Lowlands

Once upon a time the Lowlands of Scotland were thriving with distilling activities, legal as well as illegal. In the 18th century Edinburgh supposedly hosted more than 400 pot stills, the majority on the wrong side of the law. Then, in the 19th century, the Haig and Stein distilling dynasties poured out huge amounts of Lowland whisky. Those times are long gone. At the time of writing a handful of distilleries are up and – more or less – running. Only two of them produce single malt whisky on
a commercial scale. Let's look at them first.

On the western side of Glasgow, across the Erskine Bridge, sits Auchentoshan, famous for its triple distillation. It's a good half hour from the airport, by car. Don't follow your SatNav religiously, or you will end up in a housing project adjacent to the distillery, which I did. When Auchentoshan was founded in 1823, this part of Glasgow's suburbs might have been a tranquil meadow. After all, this Gaelic name means ‘corner of the field' in proper English. The distillery is meticulously well kept by Japanese owner Suntory. It could have been different altogether. Auchentoshan was one of the very few distilleries severely hit during World War II, when a bomb was dropped near the premises and nearly a million litres of maturing whisky burnt in an instant. Luckily it was resurrected and today you can enjoy a fine tour and tasting. Savour the Three Wood! Time to spare in the city? Go to the West End and try The Ubiquitous Chip.

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